‘Closing dark chapter’: Laval recovers $60M from corruption, collusion

"We’ve learned from it but now we want to move forward," says Laval mayor Stephane Boyer, announcing the city recuperated $60 million of taxpayers' money from corruption cases, after fraud from previous administrations. Alyssia Rubertucci reports.

By News Staff

The City of Laval says it’s recovered $60 million from actions they’ve taken to fight corruption and collusion over the last decade.

The work was started by former mayor Marc Demers. On Tuesday, current Laval Mayor Stéphane Boyer held a press conference to present the city’s work, where he symbolically shredded paper to demonstrate how far they’ve come.

A year ago, Laval announced it hoped to recover more than $9 million that was allegedly “stolen from taxpayers during the era of Gilles Vaillancourt” by filing lawsuits. By May 2023, $3.8 million was recovered — and now millions more.

Boyer says they are “closing this dark chapter in the history of Laval.”

“We were able to sue dozens of people, dozens of businesses,” Boyer told CityNews at a press conference. “Some went to jail… others were fined, were forced to pay back the money to the city. So we’re here to say, justice was made after everything that happened.”


The City of Laval says it’s been a decade of working, in part, towards restoring the confidence of citizens.

“I think in order for the trust to come back, people need to see that there are consequences,” Boyer added. “And remember in 2013, 2014, a lot of people said, ‘don’t lose your time trying to sue those people. You will just lose your money with the lawyer fees.’ But for us it was important.

“Even now, today, we’re proud because we’re able to get $60 million back, but even if we didn’t get money back, I think it’s important to say that there will be consequences. We will not lower our shoulders in front of people that do corruption. So to us it’s a very strong message that we wanted to send. And today we are happy with the conclusions, the results of it.”

Gilles Vaillancourt served as the mayor of Laval from June 8, 1989 until Nov. 9, 2012, when he stepped down in the wake of mounting allegations of corruption and fraud. On Dec. 1, 2016, he was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison.

From Vaillancourt, the City of Laval recovered $10 million from Swiss and Bermuda accounts, and officials also took over one of his properties. He’s also renounced about $30,000 every year from the Laval pension plan.

“We want to turn the page and we want to say Laval is not only what happened under Gilles Vaillancourt, Laval is so much more,” said Boyer.

The city undertook 18 civil cases, garnering 13 judgments in its favour. There are five cases still ongoing, which would represent an additional $20 million should the city win those cases.

“No matter how much is reimbursed, there will always be a doubt that there’s probably more money out there,” said political analyst, Karim Boulos.

The city says it’s put in place mechanisms so this doesn’t happen again. BIELT, an ethics and integrity office of Laval and neighbouring Terrebonne, was put in place to fight corruption and collusion.

“What most cities have done since the Charbonneau commission is put measures in place to make it more difficult to be corrupt or to approach government officials with bribes or with offers,” Boulos said. “But I think Laval, under Mayor Boyer is trying to put this chapter behind them.”

Former Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt arrives at the courthouse for a preliminary hearing on various charges including fraud Tuesday, April 7, 2015 in Laval, Que. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

City officials are reinvesting the money into the Laval community, programs for youth, and parks, among other things.

The opposition there wants to see the money right back in residents’ pockets. 

“This year we got an increase of 4.8 per cent in our municipal taxes, and that’s unacceptable,” said Paolo Galati, city councillor for the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul district with Action Laval. “Especially with the fact that we just recuperated all this money, it could have been a way to balance the budget.”

Boyer was accompanied by Simon Tremblay, chief lawyer and principal director of the Legal Affairs Department of the City of Laval, at the press conference on Tuesday.

“It was part of the history, we’ve learned from it but now we want to move forward and talk about Laval for all the positive reasons,” Boyer said.

Laval mayor Stéphane Boyer press conference on how the city is closing the chapter on corruption and collusion
Laval Mayor Stéphane Boyer at a press conference on how the city is closing the chapter on corruption and collusion. Feb. 20, 2024. (CREDIT: Alyssia Rubertucci, CityNews Image)
Laval mayor Stéphane Boyer press conference on how the city is closing the chapter on corruption and collusion

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